On October 23, local time, the United Kingdom and Japan formally signed a bilateral free trade agreement, which was the first major trade agreement signed by the United Kingdom after Brexit.
The agreement reduces tariffs on British Yorkshire lamb sold in Japan, and tariffs on Japanese Nissan auto parts sold in the UK.
According to a Reuters report on the 23rd, British Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi attended the agreement signing ceremony in Tokyo that day.
After the ceremony, Truss said: “This is the first new free trade agreement reached since Britain became an independent trading nation again.” He also said: “Welcome freedom in this rising land. How appropriate is the arrival of a new era of trade.”
Motegi pointed out that it took only four and a half months from the beginning of negotiations to the formal signing of the agreement. “This reflects the determination of Japan and the United Kingdom to continue to vigorously promote free trade.”
According to the National Broadcasting Corporation Business Channel (CNBC) previously reported that Motegi visited the UK in August this year. This was his first visit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the visit, Motegi emphasized the importance of quickly reaching a trade agreement between Britain and Japan.
Britain and Japan signed the first free trade agreement after Brexit 99% of products exported to Japan will be tax-free
The United Kingdom stated that the agreement will exempt the tariffs on 99% of its exports to Japan, and the long-term trade volume between the United Kingdom and Japan will increase by 15.2 billion pounds (approximately $19.9 billion).
The agreement will also enable the UK to gradually abolish Japan’s auto tariffs, which will be zero by 2026. This clause is the same as the agreement in the Japan-EU Trade Agreement.
According to CNBC reports, the agreement needs to be approved by the two parliaments before it goes into effect early next year. As the ruling party in Japan controls both houses of the Diet
it is expected that the Japanese Diet will approve the agreement next week. Motegi said that he and Truss will work hard to get the agreement approved to ensure that it will take effect on January 1, 2021.
Motegi also stated that Japan welcomes Britain’s intention to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and will provide necessary support. It is reported that
Truss has stated that the United Kingdom hopes to formally apply for membership in the CPTPP composed of 11 member states in early 2021.
According to Reuters, Truss also met with Japanese Minister of Economy and Economics Yasutoshi Nishimura later in the day. At the meeting, Truss said that next year Britain will assume the rotating presidency of the
Group of Seven (G7) and Japan will assume the rotating presidency of the TPP-11. This will bring greater opportunities and the two sides will jointly challenge the growing trade. Protectionism, and justify free trade.